- Kansas City Stockyards
The Kansas City Stockyards in the
West Bottomswest of downtown Kansas City, Missouriflourished from 1871 until closing in 1974. Jay B. Dillinghamwas the President of the stockyards from the 1948 to its closing in 1974.
The stockyards were built to provide better prices for livestock owners.Fact|date=April 2007 Previously, livestock owners west of Kansas City could only sell at whatever price the railroad offered. With the Kansas City Livestock Exchange and the Stockyards, cattle were sold to the highest bidder.
The stockyards were built around the facilities of the
Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Companywhich had outfitted travelers on the Santa Fe Trailand Oregon Trailfollowing the Kansas River. The company went out of business in 1862 following the failure of its Pony Expressbusiness from St. Joseph, Missourito Sacramento, California.
The stockyards were established in 1871 on the Kansas side of the
Kansas Riveralong the Kansas Pacificand Missouri Pacificrailroad tracks. In 1878 it expanded from its original 13 acres to 55, added loading docks on both the Kansas and Missouri Pacific tracks, new sheds for hogs and sheep, and developed one of the largest horse and mule markets in the country.
According to the Kansas City Kansan [http://www.kckpl.lib.ks.us/kscoll/lochist/thennow/TN65.htm] :"In the heyday year of 1923, 2,631,808 cattle were received at the Kansas City yards. Of these, 1,194,527 were purchased for use in Kansas City by the packing houses and local markets; the remainder or about 55 percent was shipped out. Of 2,736,174 hogs received, 879,031 were shipped out; of 377,038 calves, 199,084 were shipped out; of 1,165,606 sheep, 445,539 were shipped and of 42,987 horses and mules, all but 1,664 were shipped out."
The stockyards flourished through the 1940s. At its peak only the
Union Stock Yardsin Chicagowas bigger. Business dropped off dramatically after the Great Flood of 1951which devastated the stockyards and associated businesses and slaughterhouses.After the flood, the stockyards never recovered.
The stockyards straddled the state line across the Kansas river with two thirds of it in Kansas and one third in Missouri. At its peak 16 railroads converged at the yards.
In the 1974 the City of Kansas City and the
American Royaltried to reclaim the area by building Kemper Arenaon the former stockyards land. The closing of the stockyards ended Kansas City's overt ties to being a cowtown. The stockyards biggest heritage is the annual 6-week American Royal agricultural showheld each October and November nearby at Kemper Arena.
* [http://www.kclibrary.org/guides/localhistory/index.cfm?article=read&articleID=409 KC Library article]
* [http://richardeloftis.com/photographs/Classic/The_Kansas_City_Stockyards/index.htm Kansas City Stockyards Photography by Richard E. Loftis]
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